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Blockbuster retail deal in Canada


One of the largest grocers in Canada has just expanded its presence in the drugstore business.

Metro Inc., the third largest food retailer in Canada, on Monday announced a deal to acquire the Jean Coutu Group, which operates more than 400 pharmacies, for $3.6 billion. The deal creates a combined food and pharmacy retailer with annual sales of $12.8 billion, and an overall network of more than 1,300 stores in Canada, with 677 drug stores.

Metro's existing pharmacy distribution and franchising activities will be combined with those of the Jean Coutu Group. Jean Coutu will operate as a stand-alone division of Metro with its own management team led by Francois Coutu.

"Bringing together our two highly respected and longstanding Quebec brands represents an exciting milestone in the history of the Jean Coutu Group," stated Jean Coutu, chairman of the Jean Coutu Group. "I am confident that this combination will ensure the safeguard of our entrepreneurial vision and corporate values as well as the perennial strength of the brand and will enable us to pursue our growth plan."

"We're honored to become the steward of the iconic Jean Coutu Group brand and we intend to build on this exceptional legacy," added Eric La Fleche, president and CEO Metro. "It is a unique opportunity to bring together each company's expertise to better serve the growing consumer demand for healthier choices, value and convenience," he said. "The Jean Coutu Group's extensive retail network and state-of-the-art distribution center will provide us with increased scale and reach, operational efficiencies and enhanced growth potential."

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